An in-depth history will be taken by one of our experienced foot and ankle consultants. This will enable them to formulate a list of possible diagnoses to be tested during a physical examination. The mechanism behind any trauma suffered, any contributory repetitive tasks that may cause your pain as well as any previous injuries will be noted.
Some knee conditions may have associated symptoms such as swelling, weakness, giving way or instability. These symptoms can often be helpful in formulating a possible diagnosis.
A thorough physical examination will be conducted of the lower limbs. Specialist assessment techniques may include:
- Assessing the foot shape (i.e. flat or high-arched foot type)
- Assessing the alignment of the lower limb
- Joint range of motion tests, including the ankle/foot as well as the hips
- Muscle length tests
- Palpation (feeling the tissues under the skin to assess for pain)Resistance tests, to check the integrity of the muscles and tendons around the foot and ankle
State-of-the-art diagnostics available for you
Several forms of imaging exist to confirm diagnoses around the foot and ankle. Depending on the exact presentation, our consultants may request more than one imaging modality before offering treatment. Diagnostic tests may include:
- X-rays: can be useful to assess the degree of any degenerative changes to the joints. X-rays taken at specialist angles may also be requested in cases of significant structural deformity of the foot. As X-rays can be taken in a weight-bearing position, they can help determine which forms of surgical correction may be useful.
- MRI scan: may be considered for inspecting the soft tissue around the foot and ankle, including the ligaments, tendons and their respective tendon sheaths. An MRI scan may also be requested to investigate the bony cartilage (joint surfaces) in more detail than a plain X-ray would provide.
- Ultrasound scans: can provide a detailed and dynamic view of tendons such as the Achilles tendon and tibialis posterior tendon. Your consultant may request this imaging to assess areas of pain, inflammation or suspected tears to these tissues.
The right treatment for you, always
You will always be given the space and time to talk about how your symptoms have affected you. In addition, your individual goals, whether sporting or non-sporting, will also be thoroughly discussed in order to determine the best possible management plan for you.
As well as offering the best possible surgical outcomes, our foot and ankle unit is able to offer image- guided injections in cases of osteoarthritis or in cases of tendon sheath inflammation.